Convert database unicode before echoing it


I am having trouble with displaying special chars correct from the database (I do not own the db so I can’t change it).

html charset is set to utf-8, and everything looks correct if not retrieved from database.

After many tries I found a php-function that seems to work, see below.

<?php echo mb_convert_encoding($model->name,"utf-8", "IBM-850"); ?>

Does this mean the database entries is encoded with this wierd unicode IBM-850?

My main question is if it is possible to convert all db-values before echoing it? I need to display alot of values on different pages on my site so it will be very time-consuming to convert every single value with the mb_convert_encoding function.

Im using MS SQL 2000

You can use SELECT SERVERPROPERTY(‘Collation’) to get info on DB collation.

When done, you can try to set required connection encoding in the config file.

'db' => array(


    'charset' => 'CHARSET GOES HERE',



PS. AFAR, default encoding for MSSQL is 1250.